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Minnesota Vikings News and Links, 28 October 2023

The best way to destroy and enemy is to make him a friend. - Abraham Lincoln

San Francisco 49ers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

This is shaping up to be a MUST win for the team right before the trade deadline. I do not expect any key players to be dealt unless the offer is too good to pass up. For example, if the team moved Hunter they would have to get back at least a 2nd round pick and probably a future conditional 3rd or 4th. But what do they do at that position when he is gone? They have Pat Jones II, DJ Wonnum, and Andre Carter II. They would have to call up someone from the practice squad. If they had Davenport and he was proving to be reliable then they might give serious consideration.

The price to keep Hunter next year keeps going up which is an interesting position Kwesi was willing to take.

Ezra Cleveland is another name that pops up often since he is a free agent next year. Cleveland just turned 25 years old and is in his fourth season. His pass blocking has finally improved to be on par with his run blocking. It is not unreasonable to assume/consider that he simply is getting better and should maintain that level. But how much will it cost to keep him? I predict more than 13M and there is always a team willing to pay really high for a player who will only be 26 in the first year of the new deal.

That leaves Dalton Risner who was aight in his first game. He should be a bit cheaper to extend than Cleveland but he could go to the highest bidder as well. Maybe the team is simply not going to pay top dollar for a guard next year? Maybe they will draft another early round guard? It is a tough call.

The other consideration is do they want to weaken the line by trading Ezra? They need solid depth in case of injury which frequently happens even if it is only for a game or two. The competitive side of the mantra argues against moving Ezra.

I do not think there is any other player that another team would want or that the team should move if they did. They need to keep Wonnum, Hicks, and Osborn. They probably wont get any takers for Smith considering his 15.3M and 18.1M due in cash the next two years.

Maybe Mattison can be moved provided they get a back in return? I would love to see them trade Mattison for Derrick Henry but it will cost 6.33M the rest of the year for Henry who also will be a free agent next year. Is it worth it?

The good feeling from the 49ers game will be gone if they do not beat the Stinkin’ Packers.

Since yore last open thread ...

2023 NFL Week 8: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

Establish the Fun: Kirk Cousins is playing some of his best football

Norse Code Podcast Episode 489: We Are Finally The Trap Game (with guest Justis Mosqueda)

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers: Final injury reports for both teams

Other Vikings News

Dalvin Cook’s struggles show why the Vikings shouldn’t trade for a running back

After the Vikings cut Cook in June, NFL Network’s Rich Eisen said: “A 27-year-old running back, in his prime, four straight thousand-yard seasons, 52 touchdowns is getting released. Because the Vikings don’t want to pay him $11 million. For a running back. I just don’t understand it.”
All of this is to say, despite the struggles in their own running game this season, the Vikings have been proven right in their decision to move on from an overly expensive running back.
Kwesi and company shouldn’t be lured into the idea, no matter how bad the current run game is, of trading for a Saquon Barkley or Derrick Henry if they are indeed going to be buyers at the deadline.

Report: Vikings minority owner accused of blackballing Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh

NFL Rumors: Vikings asking price for star trade target goes up

Per Albert Breer, the Vikings asking price for Danielle Hunter has gone up, as they don’t feel any rush to trade a player who could either aid their playoff push, or sign long term.
“He, of course, will be expensive for anyone to re-sign. Which means the reality for any team trading for him is that you’re either getting a rental, or giving up draft capital and a monster contract at once. But he’s a really good player, and could be worth it for someone,” Breer wrote. “I’d have said, at one point, that maybe a third-round pick would get this done. But based on how he’s playing, my guess is the price has gone up.”

At 3-4 With a Favorable Schedule, the Vikings’ Playoff Hunt is Back On

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins cranking up his game as Packers’ defense looks to do the same

Cousins makes his 12th career start, including one playoff contest, against the Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field – two with Washington and now 10 with the Vikings. Russell Wilson is third on the list, having just made his 10th start vs. Green Bay last week.
Cousins’ record through the first 11 is dead even at 5-5-1.
Bigger picture, Cousins has an awfully strong statistical record against the Packers despite the .500 record. He’s posted a passer rating of 118 or higher in seven of the previous 11 matchups, and his overall mark is 103.4 (239-of-362, 3,065 yards, 22 TDs, eight INTs).
“Kirk Cousins is playing outstanding football right now,” said Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur, who was Cousins’ position coach with Washington during the QB’s first two seasons in the league. “I feel like he’s always been severely underrated. I think he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the game and he’s playing like it.”

The Vikings Might Have Found Something in Brandon Powell

Kirk Cousins sent a text to Brandon Powell after Monday night’s win over the 49ers.
“The player you were (tonight) is kind of the player I see you being game-in and game-out,” the text read, as Cousins recalled this week. “It’s kind of what I expect from you, because I think you do separate versus man, and I think you do make plays after the catch.”
“It’s been amazing, his football journey and how he’s carved out a career for himself,” Cousins said. “Watching him in training camp, the way he played, you could just see this guy separates versus man coverage, and those guys are hard to find. He’s a playmaker, and he’s pretty natural. Having been a college running back, he’s gonna be physical in the run game, he’s gonna understand what he has to do to help in other ways.”

This is the Best Offensive Line the Vikings Have Had in a Long Time

Darrisaw is having a first team All-Pro type of season, establishing himself for the second consecutive season as one of the very best left tackles in the league. After another elite performance against the 49ers, he’s PFF’s highest-graded offensive lineman in the NFL, regardless of position. Darrisaw’s absolute dominance — and the way he makes it look easy — is remarkable to watch on tape every week.
Darrisaw got the better of Nick Bosa a couple times, but Bosa spent most of the night lined up against O’Neill on the right side. And although he got some help from chipping tight ends on occasion, O’Neill more than held his own in another strong performance. He’s right behind the Lions’ Penei Sewell as PFF’s No. 2 right tackle in the league through seven weeks.
“How about Dalton Risner stepping in there,” O’Connell said. “How about Ed Ingram’s continued progression. To me, (Ingram) just continues to get better and better, and obviously having Garrett back in there now consistently running the show, the rapport between him and Kirk is tremendous. I gave that whole (O-line) group a game ball. This one will be special for them.”

Vikings Still Searching For First Rushing Touchdown in 2023

For the first time in their 63-year history, the Minnesota Vikings don’t have a single rushing touchdown in the first seven games of a season.
They’re also the only team in the NFL without a rushing TD at this point.
To be fair, Kirk Cousins’ 16 touchdown passes through seven weeks led all quarterbacks, so it’s not as if the Vikings haven’t been scoring at all. But they’ve only scored touchdowns on 47.4 percent of their red zone trips, the 23rd-best rate in the league. The lack of a successful run game in that area of the field — particularly near the goal line — is hurting the Vikings’ ability to cash in on their scoring opportunities.

Four Vikings Make The Ringer’s Top 90 Trade Value Rankings


NFL News

5 Bold Predictions for the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline

Broncos Trade Patrick Surtain II
49ers Swing Big for Offensive Lineman
Matt Barrows of The Athletic recently wrote that offensive linemen Ezra Cleveland (Minnesota Vikings) and Cody Whitehair (Chicago Bears) are “realistic” trade targets for San Francisco.
Kyler Murray Heads to Atlanta
Cowboys Trade Michael Gallup
Lions Trade Within the NFC North Again
One of the players Pouncy suggested is none other than Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter, who currently leads the league in sacks with nine. Granted, the Vikings’ recent run could dissuade them from moving Hunter, especially if they beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, as the team is now back in the playoff hunt.
However, the Lions could still strike an intra-division deal for a veteran pass-rusher.
Several outlets have reported that edge defender Preston Smith could be on the trade block for the Packers. Much like Hunter, Smith and his 60 career sacks would fill a need in Detroit, giving the organization another potential trade partner in the NFC North.

NFL Trade Deadline 2023: Five players the Buffalo Bills could target

Harrison Phillips, DT (Minnesota Vikings)
Former Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips signed with the Vikings during free agency in 2022. His contract is cheap, with the Vikings owing Phillips around $2.5 million the rest of the way.
With the injury to defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (currently on Injured Reserve) and defensive tackle Ed Oliver dealing with a toe injury, Phillips could help as a rotational piece for the defense — which is fairly weak right now in the middle.

Yeah right

NFL trade rumors: 13 players most likely to be traded at the 2023 deadline

Danielle Hunter, EDGE, Vikings
Hunter keeps racking up sacks as a specialist getting to the quarterback. He can still build on his game as a young veteran to become more complete as he’s still younger than 30. He’s too expensive for a rebuilding team to keep but can immediately boost a contender’s pass rush.
Best fits for Hunter: Ravens, Lions

It wont end until the trade deadline is passed

Yore Mock

Trade Partner: Chicago Bears
Sent: Pick 12
Received: Pick 38, Pick 69, Pick 100, 2025 CAR 2nd, 2025 CHI 2nd
Trade Partner: Houston Texans
Sent: Pick 43, Pick 173
Received: Pick 50, Pick 95
Trade Partner: Cleveland Browns
Sent: Pick 151
Received: Pick 160, Pick 216

38. Michael Penix Jr. QB Washington 6’3” 213

50. Bralen Trice EDGE Washington 6’4” 274

69. Kris Jenkins DT Michigan 6’3” 305

95. Dontay Corleone DT Cincinnati 6’2” 318

100. Blake Corum RB Michigan 5’8” 214

111. Patrick Paul OT Houston 6’7” 315

126. Layden Robinson OG Texas A&M 6’4” 315

159. Payton Wilson LB NC State 6’4” 238

160. Cam Hart CB Notre Dame 6’2” 207

216. Brenden Rice WR USC 6’3” 210

Would Kwesi trade with another division rival?

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